What a long, strange trip it's been. Sitting now at this keyboard, my recent past seems almost as a distant mirage; times and situations which even to myself appear cloudy and beyond my grasp, as if they had been part of someone else's history. Yet these things did happen; they were the stuff of my life. Truth surely can be stranger than fiction.

In May of 2000 I registered an astounding 703 pounds on the Toledo floor scale of my local hospital. I was 45 years old and naturally believed that I would die in that state. After all, I had built for myself a bodily "Black Hole of Calcutta" and what were the chances that any person could ever claw their way out of such a dank and secure prison, re-emerging to breathe the fresh air of life?

As of this writing, I have lost over 530 of those artery-clogging pounds. I achieved this on my own, in a natural way, with no surgical procedures having been performed. No particular "diet" plan was followed; no pills, potions or ab-crunching exercises played a part in my recovery. There was no silver bullet, no magical, elusive ingredient that has thus far escaped the populace's hold. My tale is one of redemption, a story of re-evaluating my worth and wresting back my birthright of being valuable only because I am human; all this despite what the outside world, society told me was my assigned "place."

Let's be blunt. Rarely do we publicly hear about a person of enormous weight and when we do, it's "news" because that soul has either been found "glued" to their sofa cushion's fibers from years of sitting in the same positions, or a story regarding the fire department being called to cut a hole in the wall of the room of an obese person is in to extricate them for transport to a hospital. Generally these stories have a "Barnum & Bailey" feel to them. Dignity of the individual is nowhere to be found in the footage or words. Perhaps the media and viewers believe that these people have no feelings.